It is a challenge to find signs and places that begin with Q. This post only has one. So, for fun, I am also adding a Quirky Quickies section to the post…a number of quirky or otherwise interesting photos from the road that didn’t really fit into any of my other A to Z Challenge posts. It will be a quick read with quaint and quirky and maybe even quizzical signs. I hope they quench your travel fancy. Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.
The Queen City, Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati is a beautiful city. I really love taking trips up to this beautiful city on the Ohio River. The city has been nicknamed The Queen City and the Queen of the West since around 1820, only a few short years after the city was incorporated in 1802 (the city was first settled in the 1780s). One possible birth of this nickname likely came from writer Ed B. Cooke of the (then) Inquisitor and Cincinnati Advertiser wherein he wrote in the May 4, 1819 edition of the paper:
“The City is, indeed, justly styled the fair Queen of the West: distinguished for order, enterprise, public spirit, and liberality, she stands the wonder of an admiring world.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also mentioned it in his poem Catawba.
Quirky and Quick Signs From the Road
A fun little view of some of the more offbeat things I see while on the road
Like what you see? Well, there is lots more! I currently have two books about offbeat and quirky places to take on your road trips. You can see both of my books at http://amzn.to/2ks6fQZ. Working on Book 3, coming in late Spring 2019!!
(Editor’s Note: For my 2019 posts, I will be posting photos from my travels in 2018. I visited 26 states and drive over 13,000 miles in 2018. These posts will feature of few of the road signs and business signs I came across, as well as some stories behind them. Enjoy the Read and Enjoy the Ride!)
I am always Interested in the Incredible variety of unique places in this expansive country of ours. Through my over 13,000 miles of travel in 2018 I saw thousands of signs for roads, places, shops, etc. There aren’t too many that begin with the letter I but I did find some…because I had this challenge in mind as I traveled. So, here are the three or four I signs I found in 2018. Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.
I have seen hundreds and hundreds of town signs over the years, but this was the first time I have found a location name that is an abbreviation. Granted, there are towns with their nicknames, such as Chi-town for Chicago or Philly for Philadelphia. But, what does I.X.L. mean? Maybe it refers to my travel writing? (Do I X L?)
I.X.L. is a small place with a population of about 51 (in 2010). The town was incorporated in 2001 and is an historical freedman’s town. According to the town’s website explains that the actual name comes from the fact that the town site is on a strip of Cherokee land famous for the Oklahoma Land Run. The name stands for Indian Exchange Land. The town’s population is 100% African-American (thus a “freedman’s town”), with Joan Partridge as the current mayor.
Iowa River Greenbelt, Iowa Falls, Iowa
As I travel across the country, I typically make plans to find the wonderful Whispering Giants by Peter Toth (see my post about these). One of the nearly seventy of these is located in Iowa Falls, Iowa on the Iowa River Greenbelt. The Greenbelt runs along the Iowa River in Hardin County, Iowa from Alden, Iowa to Eldora, Iowa. Unfortunately, I was there in the midst of a snowstorm, so all I got to see was the sign and the Iowa Falls Whispering Giant.
Imagine Art Gallery, Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
In 1964 the Beatles made their first visit to the U.S. On this trip they passed through the small town of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas (see my post about this). At the time, Imagine Art Gallery owner Carrie Snapp, was head of The Beatles local fan club when the Beatles made their surprise stop-over at the Walnut Ridge airport, between their Dallas and New York concerts. Nowadays Carrie runs a shop with a load of art, including lots of Beatle’s memorabilia. She even has copies of some of the original color photos from the Beatles 1964 stop-over.
Located at the intersection of Abbey Road and Main Street, it is part of a complex of shops and businesses that celebrate the Beatles’ visit some 55 years after the event. If you like the Beatles, this is a must-stop place.
That’s it for the I signs. Imagine the indulgence had I included more….
Like what you see here? Well, there is lots more! I currently have two books about offbeat and quirky places to take on your road trips. You can see both of my books at http://amzn.to/2ks6fQZ. Working on Book 3, coming in late Spring 2019!!
Obviously, one of my favorite things to do on road trips short or long is locate the fun, unique and offbeat roadside attractions. And, fortunately, 2018 provided me a plethora of these. I have already written about a few of them individually in past months, but this post will be a nice little “photo tour” of some of my favorites.
Having been through 26 different states in 2018, I had plenty of sites and loads of fun. I got to share many of these with grandchildren, which made it even better.
Perhaps my favorite from 2018 was the amazing giant Dignity: Of Earth and Sky statue in Chamberlain, South Dakota. This giant 50 foot tall steel statue honors the women of the Lakota and Dakota tribes. It was created by artist South Dakota Dale Lamphere. It sits in a rest area overlooking the Missouri River and can be seen from quite a distance.
The statue also features a Star Quilt that has more than 100 blue diamond shapes that move in the wind. Really a wonderful site and it is also one of America’s tallest statues (the 20th tallest according to Wikipedia listing).
Another giant is just down the road from Dignity. Wall Drug’s giant brontosaurus stretches 80 feet and sits 37 feet tall as it overlooks Interstate 90 at the Wall Exit. Even there is no time for a visit to Wall Drug, there is always time to stop for a photo-op with a giant friendly dino!
Dinosaurs seem to be all over the country and on my four big trips in 2018 I came across a few more of them. Always fun!
Dinosaurs are not the only giants that I came across on the road in 2018. One of my favorite “giants” was “Ms. Pearl” the giant squirrel in Cedar Creek, Texas at the Berdoll Pecan Candy factory. Created in 2011, it stands 14 feet tall and currently lays claim to be the tallest squirrel statue in the world. Like many “roadside” attractions, this one is very visible off of TX Hwy 71.
Nice thing about Berdoll’s is that you can get your picture with Ms. Pearl and even get some Pecan goodies from their 24/7 Pecan Vending Machine.
Other big things I came across in 2018
Then there are the big Muffler Men and Big John statues. There are dozens and dozens of these dotting the landscape. I came across a couple of fun ones in 2018. In Helper, Utah there is one that is painted totally black…to represent the Coal Miners.
These guys are about 15 feet tall and basically all look alike except for the additional things added to them by the local sites. Over the years I personally have photographed nearly 40 different versions of Big John, Muffler Men or Uniroyal Gals.
You can find them looking like Paul Bunyan, cowboys, Indians and other fun things.
I always like coming across these unique pieces of funky Americana.
I am working on Part 2 of this travel report with more big and unique things to see. Watch for it soon.